Southbridge Native Returns for Pride Event

📷 Courtesy Jacob Edwards Library and Matt Anctil

“Everyone is cast in this play – show up and perform.”

Broadway performer and Southbridge native Matt Anctil will appear at Jacob Edwards Library tonight, June 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Anctil’s appearance is a part of the library’s annual Pride in Southbridge Event to celebrate LGBT Pride Month. Anctil grew up in Southbridge and has lived in Manhattan for twelve years, building an impressive career in the performing arts, including a long list of achievements in New York City productions. We asked him a few questions before his presentation at Jacob Edwards Library.

What can residents and patrons expect from your presentation?

Everyone that attends the presentation can expect me to just freely share the story of my journey from Southbridge to New York City and the people from the local community that helped to set me up for success. I will discuss my journey as a gay man and what I’ve learned about being a part of the LGBTQ community. I warmly welcome any questions from the public to keep the conversation going.

Can you tell us about your connection to Southbridge?

I was born and raised in Southbridge. I went to pre-school at the YMCA and attended Trinity Catholic Academy through seventh grade. From eighth grade through high school I attended Burncoat Middle/Senior High School to take advantage of their Arts Magnet program which I graduated from in 2005.

How do you see Southbridge now that you have lived in New York for so long?

I would say that I see Southbridge as a stable and vibrant community that holds its own identity. I remember performing at the Fall Festival at Notre Dame, many events with Trinity and St. Mary’s, etc. Hopefully, those types of events are still taking place

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride to me is the full acceptance and celebration of who you are and who others feel they are. As far as respect for the LGBTQI community, I believe we as a society have certainly made great advancements towards full acceptance, understanding and equality but we also must own the significant choices of ignorance, stubbornness and lack of compassion for mankind that set us back in our perpetual journey towards peace.

 Do you feel that respect for the LGBTQI community has increased over your lifetime?

Programs like “Pride In Southbridge” are a prime example of our strength and advancement on the community level. This is a new age from when I was growing up and I hope that with advancements in technology, particularly with social media, that the new generation can take hold of their generational power and utilize its strengths for good, for productivity, for enlightenment, and for change.

 Would you like to comment on the current atmosphere of national politics and how it has impacted individuals in the community?  

Politics always has its impact. Unfortunately, the current atmosphere of national politics is disgraceful and disappointing. It’s like when someone you respect says they are disappointed in you. That hurts more than them being mad or angry. It really cuts deep. In this day and age, I believe Americans and America as a nation are the ones hanging their heads in disappointment. But the good news is that ultimately we as citizens, each and every one of us, has the power and the impact to make change, no matter how small or insignificant you may believe. Everyone is cast in this play – show up and perform.


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